Jazz Appreciation Month

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WRTI is your home for all things jazz, and you’ve spent a lot of time with us over the last year. You've told us the music is soothing, uplifting, and your connection to the outside world. At a time when everything has screeched to a halt, jazz has persisted, and WRTI continues to bring it to you.

Katyayani Krishnan

When trumpeter Alonzo Demetrius arrived at Berklee College of Music in the fall of 2014, he expected to have his musical world opened up to new pathways. What came as a surprise is the way the school broadened his political thinking as well.

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Many years ago, a group of teenage musicians decided to form a small jazz band in South Philly—they went on to become high-profile players in the jazz world. The band included Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums, Bobby Timmons on piano, Henry Grimes on bass fiddle, Ted Curson on trumpet, Richard “Buzzy” Wilson on alto sax, and Sam Reed on tenor sax.

In an alternate timeline, I know precisely how I would have spent the evening of April 17. The dynamic South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini had been booked for an album-release engagement at Dizzy's Club, the in-house nightclub at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I was looking forward to hearing his band in that room — not only because Makhathini's stateside appearances are few and far between, but also because the urgent, questing spirit of his music is something best experienced in person and in close quarters, as a form of communion.

April 6, 2020. Trumpeter John Vanore’s newest release is not very new at all. It was actually recorded in the mid '80s, with no intention of release. Vanore, and fellow Philadelphian, pianist Ron Thomas, were experimenting with some music from that time. Vanore discovered these tunes on cassette in his basement, and now we have Primary Colors, a chill, yet electric album that touches on the familiar (of 1985).

Although you can hear exceptional jazz on WRTI 90.1 every night and 24/7 online on our jazz stream, April is a time for a special focus on this classic American art form. Join us for great music and unique features as we mark Jazz Appreciation Month.

Legendary Jazz Pianist McCoy Tyner Has Died at Age 81

Mar 6, 2020

WRTI mourns the loss of jazz pianist extraordinaire McCoy Tyner who has died at age 81. The announcement of Mr. Tyner's passing was posted on his Facebook page: It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of jazz legend, Alfred “McCoy” Tyner. McCoy was an inspired musician who devoted his life to his art, his family and his spirituality.

Courtesy of the artist

Got a second? Hop online and wing on over to vuhaus.com (pronounced View House). Click on the videos of 24-year-old Arnetta Johnson. She’s the one out front, playing trumpet with her band, SUNNY, live from WRTI’s performance studio. Watch them. Listen to them.

Courtesy of the artist

When trombonist and Philly native Ernest Stuart created the Center City Jazz Festival back in 2012, he did so out of what he felt was necessity. “The scene was shrinking,” says Stuart, a 2008 graduate of Temple's renowned Jazz Studies program.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and WRTI is celebrating throughout the month with music that showcases one of the most magical and innovative years of jazz—1959, which was 60 years ago.

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